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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: What does "supported" mean for us?
Date Mon, 07 Jan 2013 20:40:47 GMT
On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:25 PM, Donald Whytock <> wrote:
> Coming into this way late, but...
> Perhaps you shouldn't even use the word "supported".  How about
> "validated"?  As in, "We can say that we tested this software under
> this environment, and it worked for us.  We will be receptive of
> reports to the contrary."  "We have developed for and validated on the
> following platforms..."

We could use another word, certainly, but users will still ask if X is
"supported", so we cannot escape the term entirely.


> Don
> On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
>> On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
>>> When a commercial software vendor says a configuration is "supported"
>>> it means something, typically that to the extent the software license
>>> includes an entitlement to support, that the vendor will provide that
>>> service for that configuration.  So saying something is "supported" is
>>> essentially an obligation.
>>> With a volunteer-run, open source project, "supported" cannot mean
>>> quite the same thing.   We're not obligated, in any contractual sense,
>>> to provide anyone with anything.  That's the nature of a volunteer
>>> effort.
>> For comparison, I came across this page for GNU Octave, where it
>> defines "Support Expectations":
>> Maybe that is a good way to think of it, defining expectations?
>> -Rob
>>> However, users and organizations considering OpenOffice will naturally
>>> think in terms of "support", even if they user that term loosely.  We
>>> use that term as well, in our release notes, etc.  But I think we
>>> ought to have a more precise definition of what we mean when we say
>>> something is "supported", in order to avoid any confusion.   This
>>> question has come up recently, with regards to the status of Windows
>>> 8, where that OS had not been released at the time AOO 3.4.1 was
>>> released.
>>> So here's a strawman proposal for what "supported" means for us.
>>> 1) "Supported" is a statement we make about a specific version of AOO
>>> used with a specific platform, e.g., AOO 3.4.1 with Windows XP SP3 or
>>> AOO 3.4 with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
>>> 2) "Supported" means we encourage use of AOO in that configuration.
>>> We have high confidence that the combination is stable, that it works
>>> well and is safe.
>>> 3) Our confidence in stating something is supported should have a
>>> solid basis in testing.  Something is not "supported" by us guessing
>>> it should work.  It is supported only after we have successfully
>>> completed testing of that release with that platform.  We probably
>>> should define exactly what level of testing is required.
>>> 4) "Supported" also implies that the supported configuration is
>>> sufficiently available and there is sufficient expertise that we have
>>> confidence that users will have a high quality experience seeking
>>> support on the forums and user list.
>>> 5) "Supported" also implies that we stand behind that release and will
>>> take necessary steps to correct *critical* bugs, especially security
>>> flaws, via rapidly produced point releases where necessary.
>>> Note that these are all expectations that a user might have, though
>>> any given user might think that "supported" means only a subset of
>>> these.
>>> What we probably really need is more of a lifecycle statement,
>>> including when support for a configuration ends.
>>> -Rob

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